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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 10, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT

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information. people like austin want. she was doing a great service to his country. we country. we have to do everything we can to help get them out. ..
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sure, gary. my name is lindsay hamilton and i was wondering since you worked on the government side of this and the private side of this, um is there a difference in your success rate in the different roles and if you are in the situation would you go to the fbi or private sector first? >> that is a tough question. my answer is i would go to both. >> there are things that the government can do that no one else can do. clearly. and we sort have been bashing the government a little bit.
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and these are difficult times but they are handling it with a class. i want to thank you, it was very well done. thank you for having me. [applause]
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okay. i will give you one too. the congressional series concludes with republican. the former navy seal reflects on his military service and new role as an elected official. that is the clock p.m. eastern on c-span and the look at the legacy of former first lady laura bush. anita mcbride served as chief of staff tonight 9. 30. eastern and also on c-span.
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reporter: james foley was did he headed in syria in august of 2014. first american killed by the group. and in late february james foley's parents talk about the their efforts to save their son and their frustrations with the federal government. there are apart of a discussion on the journalist hostages hosted by the university of arizona correspondent terry anderson also was apart of the panel. >> journalism has changed and the information that moved in the speed of the printing press will move at the speed of light and smart phones and global internet have put the world into the palm of our hand. yet that relentless stream of news and data has not really made our world more come hencible. and speed and technology are one thing. and context something else altogether.
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for me and my colleagues in the school of journalism. real journalism. the idea of journalism that we sha tired with students begins with a simple idea this. is all about being there. ch just to get the story. but to illuminate places. this is often about the reporters crossing front tiers in the hope that they will bring light to the stories and people in the world's darker places. yet these days this type of journalism will come at a terrible price. and it is that blufrnlt realit to bring us together tonight. john and diane foldy. and terry anderson can attest firsthand to the brutal truth. we are grateful to them and colleague david mccraw for joining experiences and thoughts about the hard new world. and journalists are seen as targets. not only by terrorist organizations and narcotics cartels but repressive governments. since the early 1990s more than 11100 journalists have
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been killed and many more kidnappeded or detained or driven into exile. and it includes those that live and workeded in the troubled places and a growing number of free-lancers and other westerners that were enlisted to cover far away conflict zones. global journalism was launched for the focus facing journalists everywhere as they are in a more peril he is world. and working with the academic departments and leveraging the work of the school faculty along the border with mexico and the middle east and afghanistan. we hope to explore programs and initiatives to preserve and to extend the kind of free and independent global report that can is essential to the democratic society. educators and advocates to
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support the journalist that's are out there now. how can we train and keep them as safe as possible? leading the discussion tonight rose bloom the fact umenty and the journalism school. co-director of the center. a former foreign correspondent for the associated press. and ran bureaus of africa. asia. south america and europe. is he an author of several books on reporting and in his career has filed stories out of 200 different countries and a number of which will point out. as knowing as well as anyone he sential qualities of the good correspondent have not changed much over time. now is about curiosity. about intelligence. and importantly this is all about empathy. but more than ever it is all about courage.
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the numbers are shocking but tell only apart of the story. the behind the statistics are victims that do not know what might happen next and families who will only hope and pray for something better than the worst. in some regions the death toll of journalists will rise with the outbreak of war as happened in southeast asia the of 0s and 70s and other places such as a nearby border, the danger is ever present. since 1992 32 journalists have been killed in mexico. until 1980s most victims were casualties of war. and journalists were seen as observers of the news and not apart of it. they were seldom targeted. and then in 1985 terry anderson the associated press bureau chief of beirut
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was muscled into the green mercedes. seven years past before he would meet the daughter born while he was chained to a wall of his captors were the iranian hizbollah. one told him as if it were a comfort. don't whery, this is political. when anderson asked his guard gave him a new red bible and the associated press executives work with the officials to get him released. the situation changed in 9/11. a they wrote and what they represented and the "wall street journal" executed as he pursued al-qaeda activity in pakistan. the years since the number of journalists that have become victims have increased at an alarming rate. the threat could be seen clearly in france. and near the normandie beaches. in the tree shaded park and
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monument to reporters. world war ii with 2000 names. men and women fallen on battlefields or assassinated and killed in accident when covering the news. since 2001 many of the names of those journalists hired in their own source ietsz to get to the stories that outsiders cannot reach. other names are those of free lancers that venture from the united states and other nations to cover the news in the most dangerous areas without the continuing support of the large news organization. now with so many free lancers in the field, people such as "new york times" attorney david mccraw are working to confront challenge that's they have facing journalists and families in peril he is situations. this year a fresh named symbolizes the spirit and the courage, not only of the free lands journalists but also the families and friends that support them. james foley survived in
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prisonment and reshaping the world. and he was executed on camera. the message of the importance of news was clear. and the report letter have to be there to tell the story. and his parent now worked tirelessly to make sure that the easily distracted world hairs this message. his death is no reason to turn away from the danger. on the could not trary in america. and every other nation people must support journalist that's choose to go to dangerous places on the public's behalf. thank you all for coming. thank you for coming. and we have serious discussion this is evening. and what could be more important in our eyes and ears. and an overheating planet.
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briefly some background before we start. after meeting john and diane foley in the correspondence award. i knew that the evening had to happen. people seldom get so warm and wonderful. their courage and strength are beyond words that i can come up with. among the white columns, we have kamala paj a young french reporter killed on the border. in the central african republic. diane put aside her own grief to comfort his mother. wise and unwaivering, we need the brave prepared journalists out there in the you go left parts of the world to reflect realities that we all must understand. we have to realize what so many learn the high hard way.
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the price is high. for those friends and family that support them and the fold he's have start add foundation that we will talk about tonight on the home front the message is brought to mind. my old friend terry anderson. a colleague from the ap for 7 years like so many others are wearing aluminum bracelet with his name on it and awaiting his release. when he merged none of us could believe his towering spirit sxichlt strength of spirit. today he teaches what the foleys told us reporters must be out there. and even today, for tery this is still up close and intensely personal. cute little kid that he with saw welcoming, not a reporter in lebanon. and beyond.
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happily enough working to help those in trouble. and the stalwart is david mccraw and the "new york times" have i in the script. the fifth amendment glanced at it. and is he. well in arizona maybe the second. but this is the first. and the first amendment. all here with us in evening. and we are extremely grateful to have this panel. foleys are here. they got tied of shovelling snow in new hampshire. what the hell. and so david accepted the invitation without a second a he hesitation. and thank you again for coming. when i left tucson from here
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actually. the school in the 1960s to get mixed up in far away mayhem you had to be pretty unlucky or unaware to get into serious trouble. my first post was in congo covering the mercenary war with drug crazed rebels and machete that's believe that the bullets turn today water. we knew where they were. we stayed out of their way. and in vietnam before the pentagon began to limit our access and therefore increase the danger we could go anywhere that we were dumb enough to go. so on. and asia africa the middle east, latin america. we journalists were simply observers. not part of the stories. somebody put it. garnished the side of the plate. and pretty much across the board. combat and thes left us alone to tell their side. and today, all bets changed. and no longer a definable press corps with correspondents that know one
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another and bosses watching our backs. and free lands independents and local reporters, hired at low wages and operate on their own. it means no wages you get what you soe. and the governments arrest them. gangs with no political purpose and kidnapped for ransom. and that is our topic tonight. and keep in mind people tend to forget this. we are talking about journalists. we as journalists ask our governments to control us and it serious. that is not what we are. we are not here as representatives of anybody's government or anything. and at the same time. u.s. citizens elect to do
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their business. description. and helping americans to stay alive. and we are not a policy pawn for any administration. so i will start with terry. if you can just give usa brief run down of how the government workeded with the hostage families in the early 80s and in your case the associated press. what change and where do you see it evolving? the american government used to look at a hostage-taking as a criminal enterprise. it is the first thing that you do, you bring in a negotiate or it. doesn't mean that you will give them anything. and reward them for what they are doing.
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by the mid-880s 1985 when i was taken. the government of the reagan administration. and those old enough to remember the iran-contra affair. they were negotiating with terrorists. as a practical matter until negotiations were uncovered and became public. and then they stopped. up into that point they were talking to the families and the hostages. as many of you remember a front group and outspoken. and added voe casey and the appreciate our the government to get something done. the man in the white house is north. marine lieutenant colonel. she pegged dr. alley
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frequently. then all of a sudden. it stopped and i was cut off. and now. president reagan says that we do not negotiate with terrorists. he said we mean it. and it will not happen. and the terrorists did not believe it for quite a while. but more importantly the people of the government that we our families had been going through to for information and help. took refusal to negotiate to mean don't talk to anybody. including the families. and cut everybody off. and continued since then. i think that mr. and mrs. foley can that is the way that it goes.
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don't go public. keep kauai. we are doing all that we can. and in fact it was an excuse to do nothing. which was a real problem. um. snoovm thank you. that is starting to sound familiar what what we talked about. what is your experience you and john? >> well jim, it was jim's second capture. if you will. he had been in captivity 44 days in libya. and in receipt respect was so brief. but at least there his capture had been witnessed. by a "new york times" reporter. and we knew that he was held by at government and thus the state department took the lead rather clearly in
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that case and we were in touch with the state department. actually. nevertheless the state department was in touch with us. the second time was very different. we had no idea who had taken jim. he did not report back to his colleagues on thanksgiving day. we received a call from another free lancer that jim did not show up. they stopped and were captured. so, we didn't know what to do. it was just surreal this would happen again. and jim of free lands and we had no organization if you will behind him to come in and take care of thing. and take charge so we were
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frantic really. the fbi eventually contacted us and told us that they would be taking the lead. it was a kidnap of an american citizen outside of the country. and we thought that it was good. we needed help that is how it started. almost immediately. commit today silence and the captors felt similarly, in behind site. i think that is one of my biggest regrets. media silence helped two end its. one is the fbi. and other is the captors the fbi had no pressure to go forward. with the situation and obviously the captors for obvious reasons. and so, this went on and
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after about six weeks we were hearing nothing. hearing nothing. we were frantic. and we were unfortunately, able to security services and security team. through the paper. global post and we began our search but for one year we really did not know. or whether they were alive. what is most difficult is we had no person in the government to go to. and was accountable for jim. if you will. or any the other that's were kidnapped. we start add series of trips to washington. the state department and the fbi. to remine them that jim was missing. if he was alive. or not and such.
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and there we were disappointed. and had no accurate is he to anyone with any information. and um we were not allowed to be part of the effort. to get our son out. so i know that we can do better as families. and as many points i was appalled at the way that we were treated in some instances. and for a year. this is important that for a year and a half diana were told that jim's situation was the highest priority. everything possible is being done to bring them home and they could tell us nothing. everything was classified. and what did they tell you if you had gonna head to start to think about ransom on your own? in the state department counterterrorism.
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you know. nsc with the national security council. so eventually we got all four families together. this was in roughly may of 2014. and he was very blunt and in fact on three okay ages said the same thing. and we are not going after him. and we are not going to pay ransom. and number four. if you tried, will you be prosecuted with the likelihood to be prosecuted. and at that point we realized that we were on our own. unfortunately, it was all about two years later. so, we said what the heck. you know. i would rather be in jail here. than here. so we began to raise money in terms of pledges. we did not want to hand the money. it is very difficult to collect money from somebody or ask donations from somebody who may wind up in
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jail so. we struggle with that. and we had very fine individuals who are going to go to bat with us. as it turns out. there is a new public information. and was a tremendous investigator with the "new york times" and the "los angeles times." and as it happens i work with the him. he pitched up to the state department. my question david is this came up the other day in the museum. washington. and his answer was look. these are american citizens and we will do the best that we can. and this is being stan
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studied. and something coming from that david. i hope so. i want to thank the university for having me. and i want to thank everybody that set it up to be up here with the three brave people it. is an honor for me. my connection came about because in 2008 one of our reporters was kidnapped and i became a person that was designated to run the response to that. and work with the government. and surely followed by another kidnapping and detention of four of our reporters in libya and as a result of that. it was such an unpleasant experience. and difficult experience that i ended up committing a lot of my time to how we can avoid being in that information in the first place. so it is all about security. and the government question.
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clear to me that the government some and do better. diane and i were talking earlier. and their experience as a family, actually. is than different from what we have experienced though we have access. the "new york times" powerful institution. we know people. we will get people to come to the phone. still the government was extraordinary. and there was people working in the government that are very helpful. and doug france has been extremely helpful. and on everything that we will need and we appreciate that. the idea that the fbi is a lead agency will make absolutely no sense. and doesn't have the capacity to solve the crimes committed in syria or afghanistan. they should not be the lead agency. to one example to move on.
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on thanksgiving day. the taliban call the bureau in kabul to negotiate for david. is being held and the fbi was assisting us very helpfully by coaching the reporters on how to hand the calls. and the call came. they could not get a marine clearance to leave the embassy to go to the bureau to help our people. the taliban did not stay on the line waiting so. this was a lost tunity. and it reinforced us limits of what the fbi can do. when it comes to getting intelligence, i am not sure that they are getting to from the cia or anyone else. i am not sure there is a level of cooperation when something happens like happened to jim it. is very important that
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information be front and center. back in 2003 gary nosser. they said that they would look the other way if somebody wanted to pay a ransom. it wasn't the government's business. so, to answer the question. no. in the high level fbi officials called me. and after david was kidnapped. he said look. we are not having a conversation but the way that people get out of kidnapping is that somebody will pay a ransom. don't be an i'd yod. and that conversation never happened. and that was more of the style that i was shocked to hear what you went through booze there was practicality. you know.
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that was in 20042008, 2009. so in. france when you spend a lot of time with report whores have been out. and have been taken. and getting away. and for one reason or another, sparn, french reporters. what is your experience? what is the difference between what goes on in europe and here? well i found that there was a huge difference. and that was rather shocking to me. and one the spanish and french came out. i was anxious to get there. it took the fbi months to get clearance. the government would not allow the french or spanish to get access to the hostages so the fbi encouraged me to speak to them and to get as much information as i could. so i tried for them.
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whatever. and i went as a mother right? and what i was impressed with was to go in and talk to people in the foreign ministry and such. that i had the opportunity to go to the local media advocacy group. and had a representative. and fwies a month they would sit together and they were leading media people. families were hearing about the loved ones in captivity. they often knew that the fbi really knew. and that they did not know who to share it with or would be a blackout. and did not know what to do. but sharing with the family
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and that was good. and and making sure that the public did not forget. that the people missing. how many days has it been since they have been missing. and big pictures of the journalists. so they really caused a huge reaction in public. and the third thing that they did was they had a high level access to the government. we needed help. we are an all alone.
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and did not have any behind him. this raises a number of issues. journalists and valued. they are almost heroes finance heroes. they have krarj. they bring truth. back home spanish citizens know what is going on in the world to make a proper assessment of how they feel about this or that. it also made us think that what could be done if it were happening in the united states. our assessment is the country is huge. there are many many journalists free lands and otherwise. had a we saw on a regular basis that we are a hot item
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when there is a fresh story. after the story dissipates you cannot catch a cold you know. we think that in order for journalism to go to the next level in this country, journalists have to respect themselves. and they have to organize in away that they are willing to help one another. so that is part of the way that free-lance and other journalist requests protect one another and sharing information. and assessing risks. really pushing powers at be to get people home. one of the thing that i regret most is that darn media silence. and democracy, and votes count. pressure count. and we gun apply pressure the only pressure to be meaningful is the pressure
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associated with an organized media to get to accomplish something good. for one of their own. let me ask you a question for those paying attention. this is a great leap here. and represented democracy with those that spend as much time looking at the constitution and super bowl list. and the people at that we elect to represent had a we want and don't need to be too sin cat. i am a reporter. but that is rally how it is. and therefore what it is. down the line. starting with terry. what is it that people can, citizens can do and should do to make all of this better?
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understand what it is that we do. um. what the process is. what reporters are out there for. what their purpose is. and respect what it is that we do. most you who are not involved in journalism do not understand how journalism works. you don't understand how we gather information and vet information and choose our stories. how we write them. how we edit them. you don't note process. it is a pretty rigorous process. the stuff that you see in the media is it and the certainly. in main line news organizations is pretty damn reliable. most of the reporters that i know are doing this not for certainly the upon money. or the fame. or the thrill.
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those that go out into danger repeatedly them. are not there for the adrenalin rush. they are there because they truly believe that it is important. and it is important for them to find the truth that best that they can for what is happening in the world. and that you need to know those things. that is why they are going to places like syria. or other dangerous places. more and more. journalism has been changing. we all know that. they are independent journalists and fewer and fewer are main line regular correspondents with an organization behind them. a large and brilliant form of correspondents. that is about it.
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everybody else is an independent journalist. and that makes it more dangerous for them. they can only earn what they get paid. and the pay levels are pretty miserable. they don't have the money to buy a $600 flak jacket or to take a 3 thousand dollars personal safety course. um, and they don't have anybody when they get into trouble as i did to spend seven years trying to get you out. they are out there by themselves. and i amen couraged by our industry's move to accept the normal responsibility for the injournalist that they buy stories from. thank you. thank you for that jerry.
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two things for david. one is that a group of organizations and spearheaded and spoke about several times is has put together a list of things that journalists ought to know before they get out there. and thing that we ought to know back home. and one of those. one of the main one among them is news organization that's use the services of journalists should be responsible for them. and i want to say that there will be questions, and so what we would like you to do if you would not mind is write them down. and we have kind volunteers that are running around and helping. so if you have the question. and you are writing it down. and it comes up plenty of time for that. thank you david. yeah. let me say two thing. one is that simon a friend everybody up here. that the head of the commit other he and the journalists recently wrote a new book about the issues called the new sense or ship.
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and the important thing about that. is that is what it is. sense or ship. and this is a civil rights issue and a human rights issue. and not only about journalists to be killed kidnapped, and harmed. but it is all about you and all of us not getting information. and censorship is not really about the speaker rights. but those to catch and receive a message. and we will have to think about that. we need to raise awareness. and bring lawsuits. in place where's they will work. turning back on journalists. and punish those that harm journalists.
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not nearly all right to publish. there needs to be better resources for independent journalists. so if you think about the whole process what it is to go in and get that story and come back. it is throughout that process they will need resources and the train that can they receive and what they carry in the response. if they run into a problem that is an obligation that we all should share in. it will start with the organization like my own which will feel very strongly that the free-lance journalist that's are working for us should be treated the same way as our own employees. and it is broader than that. more and more is as terry was saying all of us will be depending on the independent
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journalist that's are willing to take risks and not support by formal structures or supported by an established organization. and those people will need the resources to make sure that they are trained and to make sure that they have resources in place to support them while they are out getting stories. and if they run into trouble that they will have resources and organizations to help them. thank you. that leads us to diane and john's message. i don't mean to speak for them. but i happen to know the main thrust of it which is not bad. correspondents at one point. we are our own family out there. as david has said, and terry has said. this is not really the case. real jobs. and our own families are our own families. and friends. and the structures that we have back home. and tell us also diana and john about not only
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answering the question. what could be done. what will people do, but the foundation. and one of the thing that struck me. in the the word is grief, thinking about everybody else and thinking about putting together a foundation in jim's name and honor to help other families and to help the people that do not have that type of strength or those that do. but i certainly agree very much with everything that you have said. the raiding of awareness as american citizens we will need to be aware. what is being taken from us. when you know the journalists are killed. and thus not don't want to go to those areas. and the other thing is the whole issue of more and more free-lancers in dangerous parts of the world.
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because of how journalism is changed there. are many independent free lands journalists now. and many thankfully there are good companies like the times that really take seriously, their relationship with free lancers. but there are far more that do not at all. and could careless you know. and therefore one of the thing that jim's foundation is trying to do is to certainly to work with a group that ex-itses like the committee to protect journalists and reporters without borders and other organizations to help the free-lancers to commit to safety practice that's they can do. and also to call on news organizations too to in fact protect them if they take stories from them and such. and along that area. jim believed in the free press and he was passionate
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about it. therefore we also were trying to call on the american media to find way that's they can collaborate such as what was done recently in columbia university when several groups came together in a tiny step but still a beginning step that i believe was handed out as you came in. guidelines that were -- was just a small step. and the historic part of it was that we had people that were normally competitors. various news organizations signed on together. in that way, that was wonderful. it was exciting. so we hope to have the foundation promote more of that. plus working with advocating for american hostages and their families. >> there are many issues with free lancers, one of
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them is that we columbia talking with the folks there. the dart center. that is something that is not as expensive of core as some of the survival course that's are up in the range like terry was saying $3,000. but more of the ability for the injournalistes to learn how to assess risk. which many organizations can do for them. but when you are out on your own, you are on your own. that is hard. so. we became very much involved with the organization called very much involved with the organization called hostage uk. it is a nongovernment organization that is was built and designed to build and support the hostage families and return to hostages. they are able to um link to the government and help to share information with families and more importantly um they um can walk families through this whole process.
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when jim was captured our first response was where do we go next? well, if you have a group of people that have been through all of this you do not have to go through all of the ojt that they did going back and forth. and we can pair people with who we call are responders. rachel briggs is planning to come for years to help us to set the organization up. and one of the goals of the fund is to support that financially. it will not be a simple deal. and we think that when that in fact happens, we will have a better support mechanism for families that are in great distress obviously. and we are looking forward to moving on that line. that direction. snoop david, just, let me go back for a second this ransom business. there has been a business of
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whether or not to pay ransom. the government. the u.s. government's position is this funds the bad guys. and this sets a bad precedent. and various reasons. in fact if you are talking about the money. compared to what we have kind of gave them by leaving behind all of the stuff that we paid for, and in iraq and everywhere else. i mean ransoms are a drop in the bucket. it is not consistent. you know. every so often, there will be a strange exchange for a guy in afghanistan. you know. so what about ransoms. i am in a fortunate position of never having to have decided. david road escaped and steve farrell. and um. our journalist that's were kidnapped in 2009 were a subject of the british raid in afghanistan to take them
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from the taliban steve was in the u.k. a u.k. sit sdenl. and steve was rescued. sultan was killed in the raid. that is pretty much the story with my tree raids. they are very, very lethal. to many of the times. to the person to be rescued. i don't think there is an easy answer on ransom and the "new york times" never had a polly about that. and we are fortunate never to have had to pace that. what i think of that is an individual. talking to families over the last six or seven years in these sit ages and it seems to me that the idea that somehow paying ransom encouragings journalistes to take more risk is flawed, i don't think that anybody wants to be kidnapped or that french journalist left side go out and say, i can do whatever i want. the government will pay a ransom for me.
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and also. i am skeptical of the idea that not paying ransom left side deter kidnappers and the theories is that kidnappers will not take americans or brits because those countries don't technically allow ransom. they take westerners and sort out the citizenship later. the funding and how money is used. and i think that you would always want to avoid paying if you could but i also know that if it was my son. you would find away. and make it into a public policy statement. this is bad for the few of the the country. and hypothetical way. but the point that i would come back to is the one
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raised. there is, i am not sure we are sending a consistent message to the terrorists. and to the kidnappers. there is an exchange of prisoners for private bergdahl and an american german citizen for somalia of which the ransom was paid and the united states looked the other way. that was i think last year. ransom paid in the philippines that did not work out so well 2002. and unfortunately, the people didn't make it out. and again they were u.s. citizens. so, the lack of the could not sister tensy under cuts the notion that somehow of we are drawing this heart and mind. the last thing that i would say on this and then others can jump in here. and they know better than i do. and the idea of telling the families that they shouldn't
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even talk to the hostage-takers is really, really bad advice. and that it is advice that runs counter to ervin rest. getting intelligence. loom newsing the victims. good things. if we do not talk to them those things do not happen. that is what one. that is what we wanted was just our intelligence and fbi to negotiate, to talk to them. and find out what they wanted. we were left as families to negotiate. we didn't know what we were doing. we had no idea. we are on our own. and we can do better than that. we have got incredible resources. you know. and they didn't want to talk to them. and i know. that we really feet it angered captors big time.
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made everything worse. because they did reach out to us twice. and trying to negotiate with us. and they wanted to negotiate with the government. and not with the fold he's you know. they knew that we could not help. soshg the legal aspect of the whole thing is as follows diane and i got the opinion of several lawyers in washington. and our questions to them were what happens if we try to rescue our son through the process? prosecuting a family for unduress and trying to bring their loved ones home.
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never. and the fbi had said to us. we will help to you negotiate. they were not help. they helped us. they told us that we should write friendly letteres to describe jim how much we missed him eight he is. but as diane pointed to you. angered jim's captors. because in france, or any other countries, those ransom notes meant through the family. and through the fbi to the government. so i think that they assumed that the same was going to happen here. and in fact it did not. so, again. another disconnect. another disconnect. you know. if you are going to be helped. let's get help. if you are not, then. well that would have been helpful to know be clear. you know. if the government wasn't going to help us tell us. you know. if -- in the beginning that we cannot do their. we can't.
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you know. and be honest about what they were able to do and what they were willing to do. but unfortunately, that was just not the case. at the least to the delegate somebody from the government to be a liaison like don't the brits do that? yes them. have a special cases unit and france has their hostage crisis unit. we don't. let's take questions from the floor. how are we organize that can bill? nancy. right. let me jump in here. john and diane put their finger on two things. one is the government's willingness to negotiate, but if they are not going to do that, why is there a need for support. so that the families that are left to do this have an
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appropriate support. and training and assistance. when our people were taken in libya, and this is again it will show the difference between the having an major organization behind you. he i have a coach that sits in the office with me. as i talk to the libyans and while i talk to the state department. and while i talk to the families. and it is like having an executive coach when i hang up, he says, here is what you did, it is was really good. and this is what you did that was not so hot. and tomorrow we will do a little bit better it. will make a huge difference to have somebody that has expertise, in doing that. if you are going to be left to do this yourself will you need this type of support. so it is really both that have, and getting the government inengaged and providing the appropriate assistance to the family. i think that there is -- should be a difference between. not paying ransom as a government. and we are not going to talk
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to anybody including the families. and certainly, we are not going to the kidnappers. um. i think that the government interpretation that we are not going to negotiate with the kidnapperes to mean that we would not talk to anybody is a could the cop out. a coverup. allows them to do nothing without paying a penalty that is what they want. that is what i think that the advice to families that consistent advice to families not to go public and to not make a fuss is designed for. um that may be cynical. but that is what i believe. i am hoping that the current review of the government's hostage policy um is going to find a space. there. that will allow them do do some of the things that mr. and mrs. foley have suggest and already allow them to hemant families and will allow a kind of contact
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to go on. um. as i said before if it is a bank hostage sit age. the first thing that do you is bring in a negotiate or. doesn't mean that they will pay anything or give the guys an airplane. it means that they will talk to see if there is away to resolve this, and we have never seen if there is away to resolve the problem with the islamic state. we have tried. and we don't know if there is any room on their part we haven't tried. i think that is a serious mistake. and a farrell on the part of the government. a moral failing. yeah. let me just say. what one point is here. that i think will highlight the problem. our people the "new york times" people in turkey. and in covering syria are
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getting information about kidnappings and in a normal course of reporting with we are collect that can. and reporters were giving it to me and i pass it had along to the families. it is a strange thing. din want to go to the fbi. i did not think that it would get to the families quite frankly. when i went to the families they many times are happy to have it. and looking ahead with the information. that lack of support. now how do you operate on that whether somebody is saying. you know. i know how it will make contact with the kidnappers and the information on where people are being held and anything like that. so there was a possible failure of the government to
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assist. that is the success of the british philosophy in having the diplomats that were totally dedicate today helping families understand what is going on. their results are similar to ours up to this point. but at least families such as ours would have confidence in their effort. would have confidence in the fact that they were working to get information. and um that there was a plan. so i agree david. thanks. thanks a lot. i have the envelopes and now i can do my matthew mcconaughey. and drive the link. what happens when you guys talked to your congressional representatives? do you want the honesty. i do.
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yeah. nothing. nothing. yeah. we never talked to a congressman and reached out to us as ael our two senators did. and actually. she really got help to us get into the u.n. and the state department. and didn't know what to talk to. and and that is about it. everybody wanted him home. and nobody will say they were ready to dig in and do the work to get him home. and it was wonderful. but i think that they are impotent and cannot drive the state department and/or the executive office to do
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what needs to be done and at one point we went to talk to senator mccain. the four families. and it was good to give us an audience and such. but um. you know. nothing. nothing did. with jim's biggest goal as adjourn list is how do you want to keep the legacy alive. what would you say to the parents whose children want to be reporters and want to go out and do this? how would you like children to be remembered? jim was interested as he said and in the human rights side. and and as are most journalists to be honest eight. once you really are passion at about giving the voice to the people that they talk
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to one of our biggest deals is to consider that. so part of it is that american hostages do not have a voice. and free lancers don't. and poor kids in inner cities. so three areas that are cared about and we are trying to you know. can give more of a voice to.
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a. >> what did i say to my daughter when she said i don't want to be an actress anymore, i want to be a journalist. she does things that are risky. she does go into places that are dangerous. and what do i tell her? and so this is if this is really what you want to do if you say that this is important enough then make sure that you're ready for it. make sure that you are prepared for it and learn how to assess and deal with danger. it's hard to play the professor of with your daughter, by the
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way. [laughter] but she does listen and we talk a lot about the things that she's doing. and she recognizes that i have a lot of experience in this and i have been there. and she except some things and not others. >> could you have covered beirut from cairo? >> no, absolutely not. the question should be do you think you need this information to know about this, what is happening in the world. and okay i think it's important, i think you need to know it. and i think it's important enough that i have in fact, risk my life to cover stories that i thought were important enough. as they are always considered risks. and i know that if i died i won't be able to file the story
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anyway. and the process is every step of the way, not just when i sit in my office and the that i'm going to go do this, every step of the way i say is this worth it. having to go from here to there, and there's a chance that someone is going to shoot at me on the way. and that is the way that journalists operate. they are not stupid. and there is a risky profession so his being is being a policeman, so is being a fireman. and i have talked about the importance of journalists and journalism and the principles in the world that we play in any democratic system of society.
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we are central. you cannot have a free society without a free press. >> thank you. here is one that follows right into that. and the question here is why is there such resistance to the commonsense practice of getting training and going arm. and i mean, this came up during a rock. and there were others that said that was a different situation. so i can't really answer. but i can tell you that i have been a correspondent for many years, and i have never you know, i can sort of handle a gun but not very well. but i can do it. but i've never come across a situation that i can chew my way out of.
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and i will tell you another thing, i have come across a lot of situations and had i been packing, i wouldn't be here tonight. >> absolutely. i spent six years i know something about small arms. then the idea that if i had a gun to use when i was kidnapped i would be dead. i would tell you that even seven years in prison is even better than that. and the only real protection that we have in the field is the belief by the people that we are talking to that we are not part of the conflict. >> exactly. >> and when you pack a gun you're part of the conflict.
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>> this is another problem that is really important and perhaps we should talk about this, that a lot of people think that you know reporters think that there are thrill seekers out there. nixing this idea of adventure and things like that. but what we have been talking all night about is people going out there our young people with a lot of courage, and a lot of drive and training. but they need more. we really need this is not a pitch but a reality kids need to be prepared when they go out. and he would find a some old guy
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that had been out there for a long time, and then you would be adding, you know fresh energy and the tools always change and there's actually many men out there as well. you know, learning things the hard way, there's a lot of things in the fashion that you can only learn by making mistakes. and would anyone like to comment on that? or should i ask the next question? >> nominee of the people going out there have any experience in these situations. you know two how many combat veterans do you have that you know a better journalist. that served in iraq or afghanistan. there are a couple, but there are not many. >> here's an interesting question, if you're a person of color from the u.s., do you think the survival of captivity
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is greater? >> i don't think that that has any relevance at all. particularly when you're talking about the islamic world which has a much more better approach to people of color than we often do, and i don't think it makes any difference whether you're christian or moslem. it's not a religious question. these people don't think in those terms. >> going back to the previous question and i would welcome the comments. but i think if there was not so much competitive nature to some of these to get the story, to get it first, etc., i think young freelance journalists would be more willing to spend some time, you know figuring out, should we be doing this
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should we be in groups. can we use some of the old people as mentors. and i think mentoring. >> i like to say old crocodiles. >> and i think mentoring can be very effective. >> i have to say as a once very aggressive and competitive young journalist for the ap there is a surprising amount of cooperation among correspondents the competition is generally restricted to certain situations when you have a story to yourself and you don't want anyone else to get it and were first on the scene. most of the time international journalists know that they are better off helping each other. and they do that quite frequently and i advise my young students when they go to a country, the first thing they
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need to do is check in with the press corps, go to the office, talk to people who been there they will cooperate, they will help you. of course if you are directly competing on a story they may split your car tires. [laughter] but it's surprising that many are very cooperative. >> i will use my analogy. a press corps that actually used to be a word or a term, it works like a pack of coyotes come everyone here knows how coyotes work. one of them gets out ahead and kind of spots the prey figures it out, takes a versified and all the rest kind of swarm around and by the time it's done, everything is clean. today because of the way the system works and has to work, we are out there working like hyenas. i mean it's just the way things
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work. one has to make a living by selling stuff and it kind of pulls it off in the corner and not on the bone leaves the rest. and so the rest of us, all of you, we really don't get it, you know the effect of reporters being out there, and this is something you answer that question about why can we do it long distance or why can we let bill o'reilly tell us what happened. but you know, this is something about foreign correspondents that we just all have to understand down to her toenails. if they are not there we are not there. and how in the heck are you going to run a world, deciding to come down with your eyes closed from the top of a snowstorm. you are going to fall off the road at some point.
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you just don't know what is going to happen and who you can take with you. we need foreign correspondents out there and the ones that we have are some brave young people and we have some working for news organizations, "the new york times", god bless there are some other newspapers out there as well. i criticize often, but again they have people out there and there are ways to find out, we really have to do we can't really expect people -- i'm giving a speech or. [laughter] and it says, there is a report. 300 to 400 books per year before your capture. is that right reign. >> yes pretty much.
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>> any talk can you talk about all of the books he read in 1979. [laughter] >> i remember a number of books believe it or not used paperbacks. i have no idea where i got them and it could be anything. and i remember one time one thing i didn't read was how to breast-feed your baby. [laughter] and i thought, you know you'd have to have a little bit of cooperation on that. and the only books that we have returned back to them were novelist. [laughter] >> okay comedy oscar music is going up now. [laughter] >> can you tell us more about the foundation would you hope to accomplish and what you need
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reign. >> the reason that we started it is because we just do not want jim to have died in vain. he was an optimistic person, he would have wanted something good to come out of this horrific experience, he just went. i feel that so strongly. and so we are just trying to look at some of the areas where there are gaps, one of them seems to be certainly that there is no one advocating for american hostages that we have encountered. and we did meet some good people. but no organizations. that is one of our priorities we are trying to, you know partner with hostage uk, see if
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we can't learn from them and adapted somehow to our country, our country is a lot bigger it's different, we know that and that is why we need support for that. because it is a daunting experience the ford foundation has already pledged their support and we need other powerful entities within our own country to think that this is an important issue and certainly that is one of the areas that we feel is a huge gap. the other is that we are hoping that the american media can find ways to collaborate certainly in the field, that is so important, jim seems to feel that freelancers as a whole that that's all they had with one another and they tended to really work together in the field. but we really would love to see if we couldn't do more as american media or colleague in
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captivity. and i realize that this is complex and very competitive it's not a simple thing. but that is something that i link jim would've liked to have seen. some of the hostages mentioned to us that this was a big hostage issue. there were 18 western hostages are held together and nobody knew about it. a lot of the journalists knew about it, a lot of people knew but the public did not know. and so in their hopeful moment, some of the european freed hostages would say to us wouldn't this be cool if all of our countries were really working together to get us out. and this would be just awesome a chance for all of us to come together with our allies and it could not have been further from the truth.
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and so anyway, i'm getting off track. so we are hoping that we can do some of the things that jim would have wanted to do had he had the opportunity. >> there is a question here along that line it seems like the captors and terrorist, someone government will do the same as another. it seems like the u.s. government needs to get on the same page as the european ones you have covered this event. what does everyone think? >> i think that the u.s. government seriously needs to revise its policies or lack of policies, how they handle hostage incidents, and i hope that in this review that they are doing that day are talking to former hostages and getting some real input from them.
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i fear that there's a bunch of people sitting around the table at the state department treating each other opinions and i don't know. i hope you guys your movement, that you manage to persuade them to listen and as well to other people. i'm not very confident in that. >> we need the media's help and we need the american public to want that. you know we get nasty letters saying what was your son doing out there. you know that he knew it was dangerous or you are a traitor. and we get a lot of americans who don't agree and that is okay. i think the american public needs to win if you will, become aware, how do you feel about it.
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>> all of these cases are made difficult as john and diane talked about the media blackout and i think that that is a topic worth renting a minute on. when david was kidnapped, "the new york times" decided to ask other news organizations not to cover it and from the time that david was taken until the time that he escaped, that was not covered. and it was a very hard decision for us we are in the business of communicating, disclosing things, and then everyone else is saying please don't cover this even though you know about it. and you know it's a tough calculation and as i was saying to students, in the first couple of days going public is probably
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always a bad idea because you don't know what you're person has told the captors, you don't know if they have said in the canadian aid worker the last thing you want is for them to say that a person was taken and then undercut that. the second thing that you hear from professionals in this area is that if you go public you can't stop in today's world with twitter and facebook, you can't stop what is said and you may get things that actually make it worse for your son or your colleague. all of that being said it does really concern me that the silence takes the government off the hook. and the other thing about the silence him and i saw this firsthand, when are people were taken in libya, we were very public about it.
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is that when you go public, people pop up that can help you. and people have connections, people started calling me and saying, you know i don't tell this to a lot of people, but my wife is a lobbyist for the government of libya. and it's like, seriously, i would like to talk to her. [laughter] >> adding one thing to that that hasn't been mentioned, the point of view of the guys sitting in the basement towards the wall. you fear being forgotten. over the seven years we were at the beginning and we didn't get much news. a little bit here and there and later they would allow us access or bring in the newspaper or
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something like that. but to hear that his organization were that this person was coming to beirut to talk, that your family was sending a message to you, it was important. to not here for months on end, it was devastating. and so there is a purpose to publicly talking about a hostage. >> used then seven years, we have all talked about this and we didn't know. you are chained were chained to
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a wall for seven years you did not know what was coming next. you have the strength to go through it. today looking back, you were held at to be a good reporter and your time. but your life has been as a foreign correspondent. would you do it again? >> welcome i can't tell you how many times people have asked me that. was it worth it. [laughter] and would you do it again. well i certainly would not go out on saturday morning to be kidnapped. that wasn't very good. he poked around and you try to figure out some things, think about your life. you think about all of the bad things and of course i thought about, i didn't know if i was going to be alive or survive.
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and if i didn't was it worth it? have i spent my life in a productive and worthwhile way as a journalist? in all those years i can point to anybody or any problem and say that i helped to solve that. it doesn't work that way most of the time. >> taking it from the approach if someone is asking you is it worth it for me to go out and be a foreign correspondent. >> i am just about as passionate today of journalism as i ever was, i believe it is important. i believe that those years that i spent covering mostly violence, because that was the kind of journalist that i was
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that it was a worthwhile way to spend my life, that it was important to tell people stories, to tell you what was happening in those places. despite the fact that you can't see any result out of it most of the time come you have to believe that just telling the truth is good within itself. and i believe that and i not only think that was a worthwhile career but extremely exciting and very demanding and i cannot think of a better job than i could have had than being the chief middle east correspondent for the ap. so yeah, i would do it all over again if i could. >> thank you. thank you, everybody. thank you. [applause] >> that is it, thank you so much
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for coming. thank you. [applause] >> today on "q&a." the birth of a nation how a legendary filmmaker andy crusading editor reignited america's double war about the 1915 movie of the same title. the film was shown to president woodrow wilson at the white house and across the nation despite attempts by african-american civil rights advocates and newspaper publisher william monroe trotter, who criticized the films producer for his betrayal of african-american in the post-civil war era. sumac conversations with new members of congress today featuring california democrat norma torres the highest elected official of watermelon
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dissent, sent to the u.s. at age five working part-time as a police dispatcher and serving in the california state assembly before her election to congress amah this interview is about 25 minutes. >> from california's 35th congressional district, is a freshman member of congress, what is the difference between serving here and the california family or your time in the state senate? >> quite a difference between the three chambers between this and the state senate. the biggest difference is, i think, the inability to work across the aisle in california we certainly did a better job with that. >> how do you fix that? >> i think that numbers just have to commit to working together, we have to commit personal time getting to know each other traveling and learning about the issues that
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are important as well as respecting those issues in the difference is what we have between each other and i think it is important. >> i think running for congress in getting reelected, what is that like for you to . >> it's incredibly hard to get here. the money involved in politics makes it almost impossible for someone like me. i'm an average mom from pomona i'm a dispatcher by trade. it's incredible that i made it as far. >> why did you decide to seek an elected office? >> i answered a call is a dispatcher the little girl an 11-year-old girl who died at the hands of her uncle. he really pushed me into a political world that frankly i did not know existed. i was an average mom raising my
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children all i had to do was go to work come home and pay my bills. but over that issue it was a very difficult time for the city of los angeles and the state of california, we were facing proposition 187 at the time. and i was asking for changes to help the spanish-speaking communities and to be more responsive to their needs. >> taking it one step further, what happens? you get the call she is with her uncle, she's 11 years old can you tell us the story? >> it was a very hot summer night, there were only three dispatchers that spoke spanish at that time. the person called for help, the call started very early with her
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uncle and his live-in girlfriend, he had put her into his car and dragged her next-door come it took 20 minutes for the call to be answered, by the time i answered it all i could hear was screaming. and later i learned that there was a horrific sound that i was hearing, which her head being bashed by the wall, she was shot point-blank, the person that shot her flag. officers were there within 20 seconds of me advising them that there was a crime in progress.
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and so this includes not only spanish but other languages. then i had to go before the public safety committee in los angeles and i had to testify against my own department and that is not easy to do. >> did they apprehend the suspect? >> yes, they did, eventually he turned himself in. and he serves, i believe four or six years in jail for that crime. i spent many months waiting to go to trial. i was her only witness. it was the call that captured the shooting and the screams they captured her last words which i really didn't know what they were until i went through the process of translating the
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tape for the officers. her last words were please don't kill me. in many ways i think it changed my entire life. >> what does that tell you about our criminal justice system? >> it was very disappointing. disappointing that his family was well on and they were able to hire an attorney that was able to convince a jury that by drinking one beer he was intoxicated and therefore he did not know what he was doing. >> what was the girl's name reign [inaudible name] >> have you talked to her family over the years? >> i have not. >> that was the starting point for your political career remapped. >> yes, that was my starting point. i often say that i hate
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politics. but it's the work that i have to do. >> you were born in guatemala and he came to the u.s. when remapped. >> i came in 1970. and that includes my father's oldest brother lived in whittier california. and his youngest brother was here at the time and my mother was very ill. and i was so busy with my mother's illness that it was difficult to come to the u.s. i was told that i was coming on
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vacation. and in many ways i think i owe this country a great deal. i've had a wonderful life here. >> did he speak english? >> i did not then. back then we didn't have esl programs. when i went to school and classroom with other kids, i learned english fairly quickly. you have a lot of things on your mind, and i want to be able to communicate with other kids. >> what you remember about your mother amax. >> i don't remember a great deal about my mom. and i think that that is unfortunate. >> your dad? >> my dad is living very close to where i live, he came to the u.s. about five years later. he moved back in probably within
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eight years of me leaving guatemala. i ended up back with my dad in my teenage years which was difficult for a girl not to have her mother or for any child not having her mother. >> brothers, sisters, cousins? >> two older sisters, all seven years apart. so i was the baby. and i think that they have always tried to protect me they have always thought since i was the youngest that they needed to be protected. >> your first office was in city hall? just my rant for city council in 2000, i was a member and at that time president mcintyre challenge the membership to run
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for office and he said i don't care what you run for county commissioner, whatever it is put your name on the ballot and run. america needs workers to have a voice at the table. they need the workers to be at the negotiating table. and i took that to heart and after going through what i went through in the city of los angeles come i felt if they can do this, why can't i remapped i want to help my community, i love my community and i have a lot to offer. i won by 75 vote. i broke my ankle five weeks before the election and was in a wheelchair but kept on going. i defeated an incumbent who had been in office for 11 years and he had switched parties because the area that we represented was very conservative republican.
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i defeated him. >> how did you break your ankle or max two i was on the sidewalk and continued to walk four blocks. i had no idea that it was broken. when i got home, luckily my sister was there who is a nurse. as soon as i took off my shoes my foot blew up and she said were going to the hospital. that foot is broken, and she was right. >> when you ran 15 years ago, would you ever have imagined today the you'd be in the house of representatives two. >> absolutely not. back then people said she only cares about certain things, there was an issue with the l.a. county that i had taken on they were proposing an expansion project and they had done this
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and there were other issues that have been identified for us to be able to negotiate and i was involved and all of that gaining the respect of my community and the trust of my community was important, but i never thought that i would ever make it this far. >> as you know, the union membership is on the decline across the country. why is that from your past experiences is there a way to change that curve? >> i think in many ways labor has gone away from doing what used to be before. and that is an outreach effort. i think we need to do more of that. engaging the membership at their level. there are things that are important to them like childcare. prior to me being elected to the
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city council, i was very involved in state and national lobbying efforts. because of childcare. i worked the graveyard shift because i could not afford to hire a babysitter. those are the things that many of my colleagues have to do and single moms childcare, i'm grateful that i'm not a single mom. but still two income families raising them is very hard. >> what are the boys names and ages? >> robert is 29 years old, my friend christopher is a veteran of the air force, he is 25 and
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my baby is 22. >> what do they think of their mother being in congress two. >> they think that it's incredible challenge for them. we have a very competitive household. and their biggest complaint is how are they going to be able to compete with mom. and so what do i have to be as far as better than congress. and so it's my involvement in my community. >> is there a budding politician and your family amax. >> may be. my oldest son ran for local office. he has stayed well-connected and continues to get involved in community issues. >> how did you and your husband meet? >> we met at a baptism.
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some friends were having a baptism party at a backyard barbecue and that is how we met. i fell in love with him over time. he's my best friend. eventually we started dating and we have been married this year, we will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. >> what about when you're here in washington, obviously you have to fly cross-country to get back to your district what is your schedule like? >> i go home every week i have to. because otherwise i would not see my family. my husband thinks that his mission in life is to keep me grounded. he thinks that it would be harder for me outside of
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california. it's hard because unfortunately there are no direct flights from ontario airport 10 minutes away from my house. so in order for me to enjoy sunday afternoons with my family, i have to fly which means that i have to leave at 5:30 a.m. for an 8:00 o'clock flight. but it is a direct flight. going home is a little bit harder. i either go through texas or the ontario airport. >> how do you maximize your time >> when i get home i have to hear about everything that has happened not only at home but within the community.
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>> let me ask you about the debate that is front and center. what recommendations do you give democrats and republicans. >> i think i'm a perfect example of immigration. when my family immigrated to the u.s. it was a lot easier there was a process that did not take 30 years. you can petition for family members. we did all of that. i think it was a good process and it allowed me to fully participate in this country not just as a taxpayer but also as a voter and as a community activist and eventually run for office. and i think that that is exactly the american dream that we want every person that comes to this country to be able to reach. their full potential to be able to participate in making this great country what it is.
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>> where is your family from in guatemala and have you been back there amax. >> i am from a coastal state and i have been back twice. three years ago i was a state assembly member invited by the government the second time around and it's very difficult for me to travel to guatemala. i had no idea that they had been following my political life in the central american countries, this is an issue that we have been trying to address him in the government are very corrupt. the people saw me as that this is an example of someone that works full-time works the graveyard shift, and still serves the community. that is what they want to see you know, out of their
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government. >> argue the highest ranking watermelon in the government here today? >> i am, that's a very difficult position to be in. not only did i have my district but we get calls from all over the united states as well and it's quite an honor that the people from the 35th congressional district have given me. >> you know we had just won an election and every one was tired, i think that we got a week off, but i wasn't really on because i'm a state senator. and i had to shut down the office within 30 days or 25 days of that election.
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when i came here it was so much information that was given to us. >> there is a picture behind you and i think there's a story behind that photograph. >> it was done by alphabetical order. so i was one of the last to choose a number. but i think that i pulled in the mid-'30s. and that was the face that i was making.
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.. >> there is a constituency that feels you know, government isn't working for them. and they don't see themself here. and i think it's a great opportunity, you know, for me to say, look i came from, you know fourth floor underground working the graveyard shift the mom next door.
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the soccer mom next door, i should say. and here i am. if i can do it, you can do it too. but more importantly we need your involvement. too easy to forget where you come from when you come to d.c. >> and finally, do you have heroes role models, people who have influenced you along the way? >> i have had, i think, a lot of people that have helped in one way or another either through, you know, constructive criticism or holding my hand during that mayoral election where i won by 250 votes. but it was over a very difficult period in my life. i had lost my home to a tour, and here's congresswoman napolitano sitting in a living room of a temporary house that we'd managed to rent, you know for a short period of time. and every time a precinct
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reported, she squeezed my hand. we won by a landslide that, you know that election. i've had people like that that have truly cared about me. and, of course, i have -- to think about. >> talk just for a moment about the house fire. >> i was in the middle of running for mayor, and it was -- i was, had taken a leave of absence from my job as a dispatcher. i was helping my union on two ballot initiatives. i had just left my home. i was on the phone unfortunately with a constituent because we were planning a demonstration the next day for these rooming houses of sex offenders that were being sent you know, to my hometown. so my husband's phone rang, and
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he's driving, and he puts it on speakerphone, and it's the kids. the house is on fire. and, you know i'm thinking i live on a hillside i'm thinking it's the hill that's on fire. who, you know you never think that it's, this is something that can happen to you. we drove home, we were ten minutes away. we had to run the last four blocks because there were so many emergency vehicles. it was devastating. i went from driving a mercedes to driving a kia. [laughter] but we managed. >> what was the cause? >> to survive all of that. >> the cause was electrical. we moved into a home that was built in the '20s and the electrical had not been upgraded. so here we are, a family with you know three computers, a tv in every room, and some of the
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bedrooms had two tvs because you have to watch football not just on one channel, but two different channels. it was, it was quite a devastating experience. i had, i lived five different places in 14 months. homelessness, i think that's why i'm so passionate about, you know homelessness. i think it's america's black eye. you never know. it can happen to you. it happened to me. had it not been for a credit card with zero balance, i would have been living in my car. we had no place to go. but because of that credit card i was able to check into a hotel, and, you know the hotel was my home for the first three weeks. eventually, i worked with my insurance company, and we found a temporary house to rent. i can't tell you how frustrating
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and how difficult it is for a family with young boys, a dog and a cat to find a place to live. even though i was a council member, even though i was on the ballot to be the mayor tow it's very -- somehow it's very difficult. people don't want to rent, you know to folks that come with that baggage. i didn't see it as a baggage, you know? my kids and my pets are -- [laughter] an influence on me that helps you know, drive my politics. and eventually we found, you know a temporary place. but then we had to move again to a hotel when they found a more stable tenant. so we lived between hotels and this temporary house for 14 months.
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>> representative joyce, thank you for your time and thank you for sharing your story with us -- representative torres. >> thank you. >> our interviews with congressional freshmen conclude tonight with montana republican ryan zinke. the former navy seal reflects as his new role -- on his new role as an elected official. tonight at 9 eastern on c-span. ♪ ♪ >> this week on "q&a," our guest is dick lehr author of "the birth of a nation: how a legendary filmmaker and a crusading editor reignited america's civil war." c-span: dick lehr, author of "the birth of a nation," in a recent washington post review the gentleman that wrote -- [inaudible] starts out this way: no red-blooded american today would favor censoring works of


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